Sarah Bennett is many things: a writer, a scientist, and a mother. Her day job freelancing as a science writer has her meeting with the pioneers of future knowledge, although she doesn’t always find herself toward the cutting edge. When she interviews one Dr. Ronald Keating on the subject of the Chernobyl disaster, Sarah unwittingly enters a whole new world of scientific discovery in viewing an eccentric plan to combat global warming and promote better living through chemistry. As she comes face-to-face with hard questions of morality, ethics, emotional turmoil, and perhaps the safety of her family, Sarah must uncover some of the deepest truths in Myxocene by Troy Ernest Hill.
Myxocene is something of a strange book, mixing together all sorts of elements and yet coming out the other side as a fairly harmonious blend. It’s somewhat dark, somewhat hopeful, plentifully thoughtful and provocative, and even a little bit wry and humorous in places; it’s in many ways a thriller, but in a lot of other ways it’s something of a character exploration and an exposition on morality through dissection of some of the hottest contemporary issues. It’s a somewhat odd literary cocktail, to be sure, but strangely effective.
It’s hard to exactly tell what kind of ride you’re in for just from looking at the cover of Myxocene, or even when you’re a third of the way through the page count to be honest, yet it sinks itself into you if you’re willing to take a long enough plunge, then drags you on quite the journey. And it’s quite an enjoyable one, even if it’s a tiny bit plain at times, but oftentimes ramps up into some wilder aspects soon after for a real double-taker of a read.
The design may be a little misconceived – it’s an example of a good idea that hasn’t been converted quite well enough for a book cover in that it’s a very centralized title and image, whereas most book covers take up the lower third for titling. This gives it an odd appearance when lined up with other book covers and may not help sales, but it is a strong imagery that is professionally created despite this slight off-balance factor.
Hill is an accomplished author, and it shows through and through in his work, cover to cover. Myxocene is a powerful story, delivered with a sensible, gripping tone and with a light enough touch that it handles its subjects with a good deal of care. The book is thoughtful, spread somewhat wide as it is, and delivers its punches with sharp and unerring timing. It’s easy to see how the book could have been handled very differently, with less thought, less creativity; but Myxocene faces down the odds infalliably and comes out unscathed. It has flaws, but nothing simple enough to really cut into the experience too deeply. Myxocene stands tall in Hill’s bibliography and deserves the appropriate attention for what it does.